OTTO KLEMPERER’S LONG JOURNEY THROUGH HIS TIMES A FILM BY PHILO BREGSTEIN
Editing: PJOTR ’S-GRAVESANDE Collaboration: DICK BRUGGEMAN, WERNER UNGER Assistance: JAELA VAN TIJN, NIKKI THIE Production: MIRA AND RENE MENDEL, INTERAKT, AMSTERDAM Preparation 16 mm archive materials: ELISA MUTSAERS
Thanks for their financial support to: STICHTING GRENSGEBIED, AMSTERDAM
Editing: SILVANO AGOSTI Assistance: DOMINIQUE GREUSSAY
Editing: SILVANO AGOSTI, JAN DOP Directing Assistance: JAN DOP Collaboration: OTTO FREUDENTHAL, MARLINE FRITZIUS, PETER HEYWORTH Research: THOMAS A. P. VAN LEEUWEN Camera: KEES COLSON, ANTON HAAKMAN, JAN OONK Sound: ED PELSTER, TOM THOLEN
OTTO KLEMPERER CONDUCTED
THE NEW PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA
Rehearsals, London, 1971:
Ludwig van Beethoven – King Stephen Overture Johannes Brahms – Symphony No. 3
Joseph Haydn – Symphony No. 92 (Oxford) Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Serenade K 375
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 9
THE PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA
Rehearsal, Vienna 1960:
Ludwig van Beethoven – Egmont Overture
THE CONCERGEBOUW ORCHESTRA
Arnold Schoenberg – Verklärte Nacht
STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN 1928–1931:
Jacques Offenbach – Overture to La Belle Hélène Richard Strauss – Salomé “Dance of the Seven Veils“ Kurt Weill – Kleine Dreigroschenmusik
EMI RECORDINGS WITH THE PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA, THE NEW PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA AND THE PHILHARMONIA STRING QUARTET:
Johann Sebastian Bach – Mass in B minor, St Matthew Passion
Ludwig van Beethoven – Fidelio Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 6 Paul Hindemith – Nobilissima Visione Otto Klemperer – String Quartet No. 7
Gustav Mahler – Symphonies Nos 2 and 9
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Così fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Masonic Funeral Music
Igor Stravinsky – Symphony in Three Movements
Richard Wagner – Der Fliegende Holländer
COMMENTARIES PROVIDED BY:
Sándor Baracs (1900–2002)
Born in Budapest, emigrated to Holland in 1927; during the Nazi occupation active in the resistance, foreign editor with the resistance newspaper Trouw; then became a lawyer; after the war went back to Budapest where he assisted at concerts and opera performances at the Budapest opera under Klemperer; following the Soviet repression of the 1956 uprising, left Hungary again for Amsterdam.
Franz Beidler (1901–1981)
German-Swiss author, Wagner’s ‘first grandchild’ but banned from Bayreuth by Cosima Wagner; during the Weimar Republic worked with Leo Kestenberg at the Prussian Ministry of Science, Culture and Education; between 1943 and 1972 general secretary of the Swiss Society of Authors; main work: Cosima Wagner-Liszt, Der Weg zum Wagner-Mythos.
Ernst Bloch (1885–1977)
One of Klemperer’s few close friends; ranks as one of the most idiosyncratic Marxist thinkers of his time; 1933–1948 in US exile, returned to become professor of philosophy in Leipzig; his move in 1961 to West Germany and a professorship at Tübingen University enabled regular contact between the two.
Tamás Blum (1927–1992)
Hungarian conductor and translator; 1945–1951 at the Budapest State Opera, where he worked as Klemperer’s assistant; between 1953 and 1958 music director at the Debre en Opera House; 1959 re-appointed at Budapest Opera, moved to Zurich in 1966, in 1977 director of the International Opera Studio there.
Pierre Boulez (1925–2016)
Composer and conductor, possibly the single most dominant figure in the post-war musical scene; first heard Klemperer conduct in 1952 in Montreal (‘an indelible impression’); as of the mid–1960s Klemperer took a great interest in Boulez’s work and career and regularly attended his rehearsals and performances.
Harold Byrnes (Bernstein) (1903–1977)
German-American conductor and orchestrator, a close friend of Klemperer’s since his Berlin years; studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin with Erich Kleiber and Leo Blech; 1936 moved to Los Angeles where he founded the Los Angeles Chamber Symphony, regularly performance works by Schoenberg; after the war returned to Berlin, in 1971 conducted Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron at the German Opera; for Klemperer’s 1947 Copenhagen concert arranged a suite from Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.
Principal cellist of the Philharmonia Orchestra from its inception; largely self-taught, Clark had risen from plain roots to the top of his profession and was a firm favourite of Klemperer’s.
Hans Curjel (1896–1974)
German conductor and dramatist; studied violin and conducting at the Karlsruhe Conservatory; 1924-25 conductor at the Dusseldorf Theatre, 1925-27 deputy director of the Baden Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. He then joined Klemperer at the Kroll Opera in Berlin as main dramaturg and deputy director (1927–1931), decisively helping determine its avant-garde direction; after the Kroll’s closure guest director at the State Opera. Emigrated to Switzerland in 1933. His monumental Experiment Kroll Oper 1927–1931 appeared posthumously in 1975, edited by Eigel Kruttge.
Paul Dessau (1894–1979)
Like Bloch, one of Klemperer’s few close friends; chorus master and conductor under Klemperer in Cologne (1919–1923); a prolific composer often collaborating with Brecht, Dessau after the war settled and remained in East Germany; they corresponded regularly and as of the mid–1960s till Klemperer’s death met on various occasions.
Herbert Downes (1909–2004)
Principal violist of the Philharmonia from 1945 till 1974; also prolific chamber music player.
Georg Eisler (1928–1998)
Son of the composer Hanns Eisler, Georg Eisler was a renowned Austrian painter and graphics artist; designed the sets and costumes for Klemperer’s 1961 Magic Flute production at Covent Garden.
Walter Felsenstein (1901–1975)
Iconic theatre and opera director, between 1932 and 1936 at Cologne and Frankfurt; in 1947 created the Komische Oper in East Berlin, inviting Klemperer to conduct his epoch-making production of Bizet’s Carmen there.
Moje Forbach (1898–1993)
German opera singer/actress, 1928–1931 engaged by Klemperer at the Kroll where she premiered Schoenberg’s Erwartung and delivered a Senta of ‘heroic possession’ in his legendary Fliegende Holländer production. Forbach thereafter enjoyed a long and successful career as a stage and film actress.
George Harewood (1923–2011)
A music enthusiast, Lord Harewood devoted most of his career to opera and held various posts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1951–1972), where he invited Klemperer to conduct (and direct) Fidelio (1961 and 1969), Zauberflöte (1962, 1963) and Lohengrin (1963).
Peter Heyworth (1921–1991)
American-born British music critic and journalist, author of the authoritative 2-volume biography Otto Klemperer. His Life and Times and editor of Conversations with Klemperer
Max Hofmüller (1881–1981)
Singer and opera director, member of the Strasbourg Opera under Klemperer (1914–1917), from 1918 senior director in Munich; staged Klemperer’s Ring cycle at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1931); concentrated after the war on teaching.
Fred Husler (1889–1969)
Voice pedagogue at the Kroll (1927–1931) with Moje Forbach, Jarmilla Novotna, Iso Golland and Charles Kullman among the many singers he coached.
Assistant recording producer under Walter Legge present at most of Klemperer’s recording session for EMI until the early 1960’s.
Lotte Klemperer (1923–2003)
Klemperer’s daughter; with the death in 1956 of her mother Johanna (née Geisler) she became the guardian of his personal life, the manager of his professional career and, after his death, the custodian of his legacy. She once literally saved Klemperer’s life when on 30 September 1958 he fell asleep in bed smoking his pipe. In 1983 she published Die Personalakten der Johanna Geisler (‘The Personal Documents of Johanna Geisler’), a moving portrait she unearthed from the archives of her mother’s early life and stage career.
Werner Klemperer (1920–2000)
Klemperer’s son; remaining in the US after the war, he enjoyed a long career as stage, film, and television actor and musician; he famously created the role of Colonel Wilhelm Klink in the TV sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, set in a German POW camp during World War Two. He later also appeared in Broadway musicals and in opera, for example as Bassa Selim in Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail (18 times at the Met) and, to great acclaim, as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus (Seattle Opera 1981).
Eigel Kruttge (1899–1979)
Was Klemperer’s assistant in Cologne, then dramaturge at the Kroll, later harpsichordist; from 1952 until 1966 as radio producer at the WDR in Cologne facilitated Klemperer’s concerts with the WDR Radio Orchestra and was thus instrumental in the return of his German passport. After the death of Hans Curjel, prepared his monumental Experiment Krolloper for publication in 1975.
F.W. Kuphal, Jr. (1880–1975)
Violinist and personal assistant to William A. Clark, when he created the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1919; the orchestra’s librarian until 1960. The footage he shot in the 1930s (with an 8-mm camera from his desk in the orchestra) of Klemperer conducting the orchestra he allowed us to use for free in the film.
Gareth Morris (1920–2007)
Founding member in 1945 of Walter Legge’s Philharmonia Orchestra and its principal flutist from 1948. In 1964 Morris played a crucial role in helping establish the New Philharmonia Orchestra and was its chairman until 1972. ‘No British musician came closer to Klemperer’ (Heyworth).
Hans Reichenfeld (1914 –1983)
Authoritative Dutch music critic for Handelsblad/NRC (1959–1982), exceptional for the combi- nation in his writings of erudition, non-conformist enthusiasm and deep musical understanding; highlighted the ‘piercing truthfulness’ of Klemperer’s interpretations and the total unity of a work’s structure and dramatic development which ‘his vision etched in the listener’s mind.’
Gottfried Reinhardt (1911–1994)
Austrian-American film director and producer, son of Max Reinhardt; moved to Hollywood in 1932 where he worked with Ernst Lubitsch; in 1941, produced Two-Faced Woman, Greta Garbo’s final film role.
Natalia Saz (1903–1993)
As director of the Moscow Theatre for Children commissioned Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf; in 1931 Klemperer invited her to stage Falstaff at the Kroll Opera and Nozze di Figaro later that year at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In August 1937, during Stalin’s purges, her husband was arrested and executed, Saz herself imprisoned until 1942, rehabilitated in 1953. Klemperer kept up a regular correspondence with her and at the time of his Berlin Philharmonic concerts in May 1966 visited her in East-Berlin.
Karl Ulrich Schnabel (1909–2001)
Son of Artur Schnabel, was a concert pianist in his own right and an internationally celebrated piano teacher.
Zoltán Simon (1920–1991)
Hungarian composer and conductor, closely associated with Klemperer during his Budapest years; in 1954 appointed pedagogue, then musical director of the Budapest National Theatre.
Max Strub (1900–1966)
German violinist and chamber musician; in 1918 played Brahms’s violin concerto under Klemperer who in 1927 engaged him as leader of the Staatskapelle Berlin.
H.H. Stuckenschmidt (1901–1988)
German composer, musicologist and freelance music writer and critic, closely connected throughout his career with the avant-garde; in 1945 director of ‘new music’ at the RIAS in Berlin, later professor at the Music Department of Berlin’s Technical University and music critic for the influential Tagesspiegel; also taught at Darmstadt. Wrote critical biographies of, i.a., Arnold Schoenberg, Boris Blacher, Feruccio Busoni and Maurice Ravel.
Heinz Tietjen (1881–1967)
German opera conductor and producer, since 1925 director of the German Opera Berlin, 1926 of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden and the Kroll Opera (1927–1931), between 1927 and 1944 general director of all Prussian state theatres; 1931–1944 conductor and producer at the Bayreuth Festival, in close relation with Winifred Wagner. After the war re-appointed as general director of the German Opera Berlin (1948–1954), then musical director of the Hamburg State Opera.
Peter Weiser (1920–2012)
From 1951 till 1955, worked with Ingeborg Bachmann for the American Occupation radio station in Vienna, as of 1955 chief dramatist with Austrian Radio; between 1961 and 1977 general secretary of the Vienna Konzerthaus Society.
Fritz Zweig (1893–1984)
Studied with Arnold Schoenberg; from 1913 chorus master and conductor at various German opera houses, until 1927 when Klemperer engaged him at the Kroll Opera; fled to France in 1933, from there to the USA in 1939, enjoying a successful conducting career there.
THANKS FOR THEIR AMICABLE HELP TO ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ARCHIVES
Special Thanks for their generous assistance to:
MARGARET DANBY, PETER DÜLBERG, HERMAN ELBIN, W. H. BIJSTERUS HEEMSKERK, SERGE HOVEY, ANNIE FISCHER, PHILIP KAGHAN, LAWRENCE SCHOENBERG, EDWARD SPECTOR, STEPHAN STOMPOR
BRITISH INSTITUTE OF RECORDED SOUND DEUTSCHE STAATSOPER BERLIN MÄRKISCHES MUSEUM BERLIN
Photographs of the DEACONESS HOSPITAL BOSTON and Dr. Gilbert Horrax’s article about Neurosurgery kindly made available by THE RUTH AND DAVID FREIMAN ARCHIVES at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, USA
The Drawings of Otto Klemperer at rehearsal in Berlin, 1931 are by RICHARD ZIEGLER
English subtitles: DICK BRUGGEMAN ULTRAMAR / HARRY PALLEMANS
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